April 18, 2011

{Giveaway!} Daughters of Rome - prequel to Kate Quinn's unforgettable debut, a Guest Post

Please welcome Kate Quinn to Historical Fiction Connection, and see below to enter for your chance to win a copy of her newest release, Daughters of Rome.

Sex and the City (of Rome)
By Kate Quinn, author of Daughters of Rome

I'll admit to a certain guilty pleasure of mine right off the bat: Sex and the City. Oh, I mocked it, but I still swooned over the clothes, the humor, the girltalk. And I've had a chance to catch up on SATC now that my second historical fiction novel Daughters of Rome is released. Which is why I've started to think of Daughters of Rome, set during the Year of Four Emperors, as “Sex and the City of Rome.” I have to admit, it didn't strike me at the time when I was writing it, but there are certain similarities . . .

The Setup

“Sex and the City” gives us four girls sticking together through love affairs, marriages, heartache, and brunch. Daughters of Rome gives us four girls sticking together through love affairs, marriages, heartache, and civil war. (Not that those SATC brunches didn't have a certain amount of civil war lobbied over the Bloody Marys from time to time.)

The Heroine

SATC had Carrie Bradshaw to narrate the chaos, a writer with a nice line in cynical voiceovers and an enormous appetite for stilettos (the higher the better). For DoR there is Marcella, a historian with a nice line in cynical one-liners and an enormous appetite for politics (the bloodier the better).

The Heroine's Posse

Carrie's three best gal-pals include a very proper brunette, a very sexy blond, and a very tomboyish redhead. Marcella has an older sister and two cousins: a very proper brunette, a very sexy redhead, and a very tomboyish blonde.

The Style

SATC popularized “Carrie” necklaces, Prada gowns, and Manolo Blahnik stilettos. DoR might end up popularizing ruby necklaces, goddess gowns, and gladiator sandals. (For women who are not a size zero! Roman fashion went for a curvier, softer silhouette, which frankly the skinny gals of SATC could have used. I adore Sarah Jessica Parker, but the woman needs a few cheeseburgers.)

The Romantic Escapades

Carrie and the girls managed, over many seasons and two movies, to rack up four marriages, one divorce, three children, and countless lovers. I'm sorry, but Marcella and her posse have them beat with eleven marriages, six divorces, eight children, and countless lovers. Those racy Romans . . .

The Men

SATC had one cute guy after another: suave Mr. Big, nice-guy Steve, sweetheart Harry, sexy Smith . . . to name but a few. DoR offers one Emperor after another: cranky Emperor Galba, metrosexual Emperor Otho, sports-fan Emperor Galba, nice-guy Emperor Vespasian . . . to name but a few.

The Obstacles

Carrie & Co. collectively faced pregnancy, divorce, abortion, adultery, and cancer. Plus trying to afford Louboutins during a recession. Marcella & Co. face pregnancy, divorce, abortion, adultery, and widowhood. Plus trying to stay alive when your political leaders are massacring each other literally on your doorstep every three months or so. Warring emperors aside, I guess the problems women face haven't changed so much over the millennia.

Perhaps that is the real reason Daughters of Rome is reminiscent of “Sex and the City,” all jokes aside. In the end, women face many of the same problems whether they happen to live in modern day New York or first century Rome. A girl who has gone through a divorce feels just as lousy about it whether the process involved a team of expensive lawyers (modern day), or just moving out of the house (ancient Rome). Both Roman women and modern women faced the agonizing choice of “adoption, abortion, or single motherhood?” when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. A passionate affair with the wrong man is just as confusing and heartbreaking whether the man in question is a married stockbroker with commitment issues, or (gasp) a slave.

What I'd love to see is Carrie and her friends meet up for brunch with Marcella and hers. Let's assume the English-to-Latin translation is seamless, and plenty of drinks are provided. After a certain awkward period where the Roman girls splutter over their very first taste of a Cosmopolitan, and the modern girls are introduced to Roman wine so strong it can be lit on fire with a match, I see this discussion going well. Marcella would be fascinated by Carrie's columnist gig - “Women get paid for writing here? I'm never going back!” Charlotte and her Roman counterpart Cornelia would bond instantly over the years they both spent yearning for babies; Charlotte pats Cornelia's hand a lot and assures her that it will happen someday, just you wait. Miranda and her tomboy equivalent Diana will both be talking at once, Miranda trying to explain baseball and Diana trying to explain chariot racing. And Roman party girl Lollia will be swapping hair-raising sex stories with Samantha: “A pearl thong? That's nothing; I wore sapphire nipple caps once. Never again, you wouldn't believe the chafing. Now tell me more about these things called vibrators . . .”

“Sex and the City of Rome” - now that would be a show worth seeing. HBO, if you're out there, Daughters of Rome has not yet been optioned for film . . .

Thanks for having me to the Historical Fiction Connection! It’s been a pleasure.

Daughters of Rome, April 5, 2011
A.D. 69. The Roman Empire is up for the taking. The Year of Four Emperors will change everything-especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome. Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister Marcella is more aloof, content to witness history rather than make it. But when a bloody coup turns their world upside-down, both women must maneuver carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor...and one Empress. 

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. A lifelong history buff, she first got hooked on ancient Rome while watching I, Claudius at the age of seven. Still in elementary school when she saw the movie Spartacus, she resolved to someday write a book about a gladiator. That ambition turned into Mistress of Rome, written when she was a freshman in college.

Would you like to win your own copy of Daughters of Rome? Why?
Enter below by leaving your answer with your email address. Open to HF Connection followers in the USA and Canada, ends 4/26/11!

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  1. I would love to read this book. I've been fascinated by the idea of a year of four emperors that I learned about in previous reviews, and this comparison to Sex and the City has sealed the deal. What a fun post, and thanks so much for the giveaway.

  2. I'd love to read this- thanks for the giveaway!

    I'm a follower!


  3. Thanks for the opportunity! Would love to read this book.

    pocokat AT gmail DOt Com

  4. This was a hilarious guest post! I'm not a huge SATC fan but certainly it's influenced and affected US pop culture and I love the juxtaposition of it and Kate Quinn's novel. Thank you for the giveaway -- would love to read this one as I've heard such good things about KQ's books!

    I've tweeted as well.

    unabridgedchick at gmail.com

  5. I'd LOVE to read this book, simply because I read MISTRESS OF ROME in one sitting! It was that good!

    Thanks so much for this awesome giveaway!

    tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

  6. I would love to add it to my copy of Mistress of Rome which is in my TBR pile

    Thank you

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pattyleonardwoodland/posts/139443996127437

    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  7. I tweeted (FleurDeMar) and Facebooked...

    I'm dying to read this one!

    martinack_75 AT hotmail DOT com

  8. Since reading "I, Claudius" and watching "Rome" (favorite line: "A large penis is always welcome!") I have become infatuated with everday life of ancient Rome. I look forward to reading "Daughters of Rome".

    I tweeted and facebooked this giveaway.


  9. I tweeted and facebooked twice. Its that OK. I am so eager to win I just forgot I had already entered. Please excuse.


  10. I've been delving more and more into this time period of history. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

    rningrid (at) comcast.net

  11. I would love to read this book because I am a huge fan of historical fiction, plus a Classics (Ancient Rome) History major at the University of Delaware. If i were to read this book it would tie in directly with my interests .. plus I wouldn't have to feel guilty when I chose to read it over my school work ! =]

  12. I enjoyed Kate Quinn's first book and I would love to win a copy of this one. :)
    +1 tweet

    Thank you!

  13. Congrats to 'Soft fuzzy Swaeter'!
    Email will be sent!


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